The former Villa defender believes the Premier League's bottom-dwellers need to start preparing for a future in the Championship.
Former Aston Villa defender Jlloyd Samuel has told Sky Sports News HQ that his old club should use the current transfer window to prepare for life in the Championship instead of chasing Premier League survival.
Villa currently sit 11 points from safety at the foot of the table with only eight points from 20 games and have gone 19 top-flight matches without a win since beating Bournemouth 1-0 in their season opener.
Manager Remi Garde has reportedly been given January funds to strengthen his struggling side this month after taking just four points from his first nine games in charge and the club have been linked with some ambitious moves for the likes of out-of-favour Chelsea striker Loic Remy and Bordeaux midfielder Wahbi Khazri [h/t RMC Sport].
However, with relegation looking nailed on at this point following back-to-back defeats to Norwich City and Sunderland, respectively, Samuel believes it may be wiser to start planning for second tier football.
Speaking on Monday morning, the 34-year-old, who played over 150 Premier League games for Villa between 2000 and 2007, said: “They’re really struggling at this point. I think it’s been very difficult players mentally, which you can understand.
“For myself, I think they just need to start building for next year in terms of strengthening for the future. They definitely need to start looking at that side of things realistically, but at the same time build on what they’ve got.”
There have been reports in recent weeks that Garde is looking to move on long-serving striker Gabby Agbonlahor and a few of Villa’s other veteran players this month in order to raise additional transfer funds [h/t Sky Sports], but Samuel believes it is still important to keep some experience around the squad for the second half of the season.
"He [Garde] may be building around younger players, but at this stage of the season experience is still needed," the ex-Trinidad & Tobago international added. "Those players have been around the Premier League for quite a while and know the league.
“He's the manager and he makes the choices, but at this stage I feel like the older players can help the younger ones to get them through a difficult time.”
Villa get a brief break from their league struggles this weekend when they face League Two side Wycombe Wanderers at Adams Park on Saturday lunchtime in the third round of the FA Cup.